Do you ever think about going back to college and finishing your degree?
Or maybe you’re interested in returning to college and getting your Masters? Do you worry about how you will juggle kids, a job, housework, and homework?
At the age of 35 as a single mom with two kids, a full-time job, and with several college credits to go, I decided to back for my bachelor’s degree. I had all the same worries. I was already struggling to juggle all my responsibilities, but I knew if I was ever going to finish, I needed to get started.
When I reapplied to college, there were a lot more class options than when I attended several years ago. There are flexible options for mothers to choose from. I do all my classes online. I can complete tests and papers after my children go to bed, during my lunch break, or early in the morning.
If you’ve been thinking about returning as well, don’t let the idea that it will be impossible get in your way. I’ve found a few ways to make returning to college easier for me:
Learn to let things slide
You’ll probably be able to get homework done, do a few loads of laundry, make the kids dinner, and help with their homework. But you may need to ignore that clutter in the corner of your kid’s bedroom or not sign up to bring cupcakes to the bake sale at school. It’s true you probably won’t be able to do it all, but you will be able to be enough.
This goes with learning to let things slide. At the beginning of a class, I read the syllabus and make a list of all the assignments. I add these to my to-do list near the top. I’ll then make a list of things I need to do each week. Some of the items on my list never get done or they slide to the bottom of the list for the next week, but the important things are always completed.
Ask for help
Asking for help can be so hard, especially for moms, but I’ve learned it’s important. You can’t be good for your kids if you run yourself down. Your husband or a friend can get the kids out of the house for a few hours while you work on a paper. Ask your kids to clean their own rooms while you read a chapter.
My son loves to cook, so he occasionally gets dinner duty when I’m working on an assignment. My daughter is good at helping with laundry, so she can switch a load over if I need a few minutes to log onto a class.
Learn to tune things out
If you need to do some homework and the kids are awake, let them play while you do a little work. I try to limit homework to times when my kids are asleep, but sometimes I’m just too tired to stay up to do it. I will work on stuff while my kids play. They are pretty good at entertaining each other for a while. I’ve had to take a few tests while they ran around me laughing and playing. I’ve gotten good at focusing with lots of noise.
Be okay with saying no
Putting yourself first sometimes is important. Your courses won’t last forever; if you need to say no to extra responsibilities for a while or have to tell a friend you can’t go grab coffee with them, it won’t be the end of the world.
Learn your limits
Don’t take on too much. You don’t have to go back to school with a full schedule. You can just go back part-time.
This can already be a struggle for moms, but if you are going to be taking on more, you need to be caring for yourself and recharging when you need it.
Learn about all your options
There are different course options available for flexibility. Try to find what might be right for you. If you are worried about money, do research on grants or scholarships offered. Some employers provide money for college courses- maybe yours will!
If you’ve been a mom in college, I’d love to hear any advice you have for me and others going through it! Drop your best tips below!
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